It’s easy to spend your life worrying about the momentary interactions that may define other’s opinions of you, and in the end won’t matter. It’s much harder to live your life focusing on making a difference for the betterment of others, one that could transcend many lifetimes. What will you spend your life on?
I read other’s emotions the way some people read signs on a highway, I can’t always understand them, but I see them (and feel them) nonetheless. So what does this have to do with being awkward? I care entirely too much what others think of me. But while this makes some people superficial, it just makes me super-awkward. I haven’t stopped being me at any point in my life, if anything my blunt responses to the negative emotions of other’s have only made me more unique.
I used to switch schools alot when I was younger, and no matter where I went, I always struggled to connect with my classmates. In eighth grade, I made my first friends at a new school by making my awkwardness work for me. The kids in public school found my neon pink shoes appalling, so I made friends by asking them for whiteout. How? I told them it was the only thing that could cover up my obnoxiously bright shoes.
I have and, likely always will, value my connections with others, above my own pride. Sometimes this is a good thing, other times not so much. But over the years I have learned to use natural awkwardness to my benefit. I know I’m different. I know my fashions are rarely in trend, and my smile is a bit too big, but I keep smiling and styling to my heart’s delight anyway.
When you’ve lived one sort of life for so long, it’s hard to start anew.
I got my wish two years ago, for a better life with less pain and struggle. But instead of making myself better for it, I lost all the strength that I’d been grasping tightly for so many years. I didn’t know what to do with myself any longer. I had been holding on, and for the first time I let go, and I found myself spiraling.
It was like nothing bad had ever happened. I felt that if I was lucky enough to escape the cause of my pain, I should just be grateful and happy. But it had happened, and I wasn’t the same now that I was on the other side of it.
I am speaking in vague terms, so as not to upset those that caused my pain, as all I ever wanted was for them to make it through their own personal struggles. However, as they overcome their addictions, I developed one of my own. An addiction to sadness.
Treebeard : “You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.”
There is a definite reason why I prefer writing to talking 9 times out of 10, and that is the presence of thinking. In my experience few people allow themselves or others time to truly think during oral conversations. For example, I respect my grandfather very much, but if you pause before answering one of his many questions he jumps to the conclusion that you are going to either lie or hold something back. In order to have a thoughtful conversation, the people involved must allow for it to take time. These days many seem to value speed over quality. We want the fastest Internet, the speediest cars, and instant gratification for our work. It’s as if we were all in some big never ending race. Maybe this is because we feel that the faster we get results the longer our lives will seem, since there will be a larger number of things we can get done. However, what is the worth of the things we are accomplishing with speed?
I do think it’s very possible for speed and quality to coexist, but not often when it comes to developing new ideas. I have fun conversations about nothing of importance all the time with my friends, but the truly great conversations are the ones that make me formulate new ideas. These are the times when the answer is not on the tip of my tongue, but instead I must think about it from multiple angles. Conversations like these are so great when they happen because they always teach me something that I didn’t know about myself, the subject matter, or often both. When my mind is truly working during a conversation (or while I am writing), I start to smile without even being aware of it sometimes. A natural happiness is created within me because my thoughts are flowing with those of the person I am talking to. I suddenly have more ideas pulsing through me than words to express them and this is an extremely exciting feeling. When I am writing something thoughtful I try to develop questions in my head that someone might ask me about my subject matter. Even if I’m writing about memories I push myself to add details that make me think in depth about each experience I am hoping to convey.
In truth, oral conversation is what I would prefer if people were really willing to take time to have one. It is only because few people are willing to take this time, that I prefer writing. Blogs like this one allow for an open conversational format which gives the writer the benefit of feedback. Being able to actively participate in a conversation with countless others, on any topic you could possibly imagine, is a priceless gift. It also presents the benefit of anonymity, allowing people to feel confort in saying what they really think.
I admire the character of Treebeard because he points out that if something is worth doing or saying, it should not matter that it takes time. I would rather say or do less and have it mean something, then rush to do everything and have it all mean nothing.